A slim majority of Americans say former President Donald Trump should be convicted by the Senate of inciting an insurrection and barred from holding public office, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, which showed a sharp partisan divide over the issue.
The national public opinion poll, conducted Wednesday and Thursday, found that 51% of Americans think Trump should be found guilty for inciting the deadly storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Trump’s impeachment trial will begin during the week of Feb. 8, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Friday, after the House of Representatives formally delivers the impeachment charge to the chamber on Monday.
Schumer emphasized the need to move quickly on confirmation of President Joe Biden’s Cabinet and other key administration officials. Schumer said House impeachment managers — serving as prosecutors in the Senate trial — and Trump’s defense team would have time to prepare between the time the single article of impeachment accusing Trump of inciting an insurrection is delivered on Monday and the start of the trial.
“During that period, the Senate will continue to do other business for the American people, such as Cabinet nominations and the COVID relief bill which would provide relief for millions of Americans who are suffering during this pandemic” Schumer said on the Senate floor.
The poll said an additional 37% said Trump should not be convicted and the remaining 12% said they were unsure.
When asked about the former Republican president’s political future, 55% said Trump should not be allowed to hold elected office again, while 34% said he should be allowed to do so and 11% said they were unsure.
If the Senate votes to convict Trump, it would need to hold a second vote to bar him from holding office again.
The responses were almost entirely divided along party lines. While nine out of 10 Democrats say Trump should be convicted and barred from holding office again, less than two in 10 Republicans agreed, the poll showed.
The poll also found that 55% percent of Americans approved of President Joe Biden, who took office on Wednesday. In comparison, 43% approved of Trump during his first week of office in 2017, and Trump’s level of approval never rose above 50% in weekly polls conducted throughout his four-year term.
The U.S. House of Representatives, which impeached Trump a second time earlier this month, is expected to send the Senate the one article of impeachment on Monday, charging him with “incitement of insurrection.” Trump, the only U.S. president to be impeached twice, will also be the first former president to face an impeachment trial in the Senate after leaving office.
Trump’s final month in office was a chaotic period during which he continued to falsely claim that the Nov. 3 presidential election had been stolen from him and tried to stop the certification of the results confirming Biden’s victory.
At a rally on Jan. 6, Trump encouraged a group of supporters to march toward the Capitol where lawmakers were preparing to certify the election results, telling them “you’ll never take back our country with weakness.”
Five people, including a police officer, died in the violence that erupted as Trump loyalists broke past police barriers, entered the Capitol and trashed congressional offices and meeting areas inside.
According to the Reuters/Ipsos poll, about six in 10 Republicans still believe the 2020 election was the result of “illegal voting or election rigging,” about the same number who felt that way in a poll that ran shortly after the election.
Republicans are split, however, on the question of whether their representatives in Congress should work with Biden on common goals.
Among those respondents who identify as Republican, nearly half said they wanted their congressional representatives to work with the new president “even if that means compromising on issues that are important to me,” while four in 10 want them to oppose Biden at every turn “even if it means government can’t respond to urgent issues.”
The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online, in English, throughout the United States. It gathered responses from 1,115 American adults, including 538 Democrats and 373 Republicans. It has a credibility interval, which is a measure of precision, of 3 percentage points.